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The Sports Bookie -- Opening a blaster box of 2013 Topps

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Picked up a blaster box of 2013 Topps Series 1 at my local Walmart, just to get a taste before I review a hobby box later this month.

The $19.98 blasters contain 10 packs plus a bonus commemorative patch card. Each pack consists of eight cards -- but two of those are the blue Walmart parallels. So if you're a set collector like I am, six cards to a pack.

I do like the design of the 2013s. There is some really sharp color and good action shots. The color photos are framed by a white border, with the player's name stamped in silver foil at the bottom of the card. The team logo appears at the bottom right-hand corner of the card, and a thin line between the photo and the white border is a primary color of that particular team. The only thing missing on the front of the card is the player's position. It's a good element to have on a card front, particularly if you don't know the player.

The card backs are clean and present useful information.

The parallel cards are OK, but the player's name in stamped silver foil kind of gets lost in the blue border.

So of course I opened the commemorative pack first. There are two distinct sets of relics -- commemorative patch relics and commemorative rookie patch relics. There are 25 patches in each set. I pulled a Gioncarlo Stanton patch, which read "Marlins Park."

The first "real" pack I opened had a Million Dollar Chase card. It's one of those interactive cards where you have a chance to pick players to collect hits. Be the first to get 57 straight hits and you win a cool million.

Here's what you do:
1. Go to www.topps.com/thechase.
2. Register and enter your codes.
3. Unlock players.
4. At the start of the 2013 MLB season, pick players you think will get a hit.
5. If they do get a hit, your streak continues.
6. The longer the streak, the more prizes you win.
7. Be the first to get "hits" in 57 consecutive games and win $1 million.

The site is not live yet, but keep checking back.

The second pack had Rays outfielder Ben Zobrist and a Chasing History insert of Mike Schmidt.

Pack No. 3 had an Out of Bounds card variation -- card No. 1, Bryce Harper. Topps had some fun with the back of the card, writing "Is Bryce going to be a great player? That's a clown question, bro." Fun stuff.

Thaat third pack also contained a Chasing the Dream insert card of Devin Mesoraco. The Reds catcher shares the same hometown as Punxutawney Phil, the groundhog who looks for his shadow each spring.

The fourth pack contained a beautiful Roberto Clemente die-cut Cut to the Chase insert card along with a Matt Kemp mini-card. The minis are made in the classic 1972 Topps design. Loved that set as a teenager.

A green foil card of Derek Lowe appeared in the fifth pack I opened; these cards will fall one in every six packs. The other insert was a Calling Card of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, one of 15 such inserts.

On to pack No. 6. That had a NL home run league leaders card and a Chasing History insert card of Yogi Berra.
The next pack had another Million Dollar Chase card along with an American League home run leader card.

The eighth pack had a 1972-style mini card of Adam Jones, while the ninth pack had a Chasing the Dream insert of Mets pitcher Jonathan Niese.

And the final pack was kind of melancholy, as it contained a Chasing History card of Stan Musial. I'm going to miss "Stan the Man."

To sum up, there were 47 different base cards (46 if you want to count the Harper SP as a separate) and 20 blue parallels.

Not a bad box. Can't wait to look through a hobby box. And remember to keep those wrappers for the Silver Slate redemption. Collectors sending in 50 hobby or retail wrappers (you can mix and match), or 10 HTA Jumbo wrappers) of 2013 Topps Series 1 will receive a five-card cello pack of exclusive Silver Slate Parallels.

I'm ready for spring training now. Baseball cards are here, so that means pitchers and catchers will be reporting soon.
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